(Spoilers in this review)
We’ve jumped way back in time for this episode. Let’s do a little timeline to jog our memories, okay?
Episode 1 (Case 13)
Episode 2 (Case 1)
Episode 3 (Case 2)
Episode 4 (Case 9)
Episode 5 (Case 7)
Episode 6 (Case 18)
Episode 7 (Case 16)
Episode 8 (Case 20)
Episode 9 (Case 11)
So this episode takes place between episode 4 / case 9 (where the girls have to seize Cavorite technology, Dorothy is told by Control to monitor Princess for signs of being a turncoat, and Chise is frustrated at being pushed to the sidelines during missions) and episode 1 / case 13 (where the girls help out a scientist who turns out to be a double-agent).
I’ve been wondering why the series opted to adopted an anachronic format, but a recent editorial published over at Anime Now! seems to figured things out. Long story short, it quickens the pace of the story compared to how it would be depicted in a chronological format. Furthermore, PriPri is largely a character-driven narrative. There is an overarching plot that is tied to each character’s motivations and objectives, of course, but each episode also features, without fail, some degree of characterization and/or character development. As such, the episodic order serves to emphasize this through its depiction of the girls, both as individuals and as a team.
You should really read the article I linked just now, but I’ll try to talk about the author’s opinions which I mostly agree with (and my own thoughts will be in parenthesis)
Episode 1 / Case 13 – the viewers are introduced to a team that seems very cooperative (behind closed doors, however, several team members seem to doubt one another), to the setting of a war, and to a world of steampunk and spies (Ange is also shown to be a nicer girl than she initially seems since she goes out of her way to try to help the double-agent’s ill sisters to the best of her ability under such circumstances).
Episode 2 / Case 1 – now the viewers get to see how it all began as Dorothy and Ange meet and recruit Beatrice and Princess. It also serves to show exactly how some of the characters have developed. As an example, Beatrice initially disliked spies a great deal (it also reveals the secret relationship between “Ange” and “Princess”)
Episode 3 / Case 2 – the group’s first mission as a mostly complete team. The viewers learn of Ange’s true loyalties which allow us to understand her past behavior as well as her actions in episodes yet to come. Beatrice is also genuinely won over because she trusts that Ange will protect Princess to the best of her ability.
Episode 4 / Case 9 – this episode confirms that the teamwork within Team White Pigeon isn’t perfect and that each member have different goals that only currently coincide. At some point in the future, it’s possible that they’ll turn on each other (this potential happening makes the image of Ange cradling Princess as she aims her gun at her teammates in the OP quite poignant. Chise is revealed to be a spy that’s monitoring other spies so that Japan can choose between picking the Kingdom or the Commonwealth. As such, her position on the team is unusual and she is worried that she isn’t being trusted. They also bring up the concept of this world being one of greys and the team name, Team White Pigeon, is introduced. Well, they haven’t actually used said name at all thus far in these 9 episodes).
Episode 5 / Case 7 – this episode elaborates upon Chise’s drive and goals, which is her loyalty to Japan and to her lord. This allows us to know the motivations behind her actions.
Episode 6 / Case 18 – while the previous episode showed how Chise and Ange started being friends with one another, this episode depicts the blooming friendship between Beatrice and Dorothy, who both had terrible fathers. Dorothy’s past is revealed and we learn exactly why she is loyal to the Commonwealth.
The article didn’t cover Episode 7 or 8 or 9, so the following remarks are my own observations.
Episode 7 / Case 16 – this episode essentially existed to show that Team White Pigeon, in a world of greys and greys, is most certainly a lighter shade of grey since they went out of their way to help out some working-class girls. Also features more cultural exchanges between Chise and the Western world. Probably the weakest episode thus far.
Episode 8 / Case 20 – the viewers finally learn of the circumstances behind the switch between Ange and Princess and of the harsh life Princess had led for the past several years (which was hinted at back in episode 4). Ange is again shown to be a nice girl since she helps out some orphans when she didn’t have to. The episode also confirms that the other girls still don’t know about the relationship between Ange and Princess.
And now we’re on this episode.
This week’s episode was yet another one that focuses on Chise, who is finding it hard to fit in with the others since she’s intent on following the customs of her homeland, Japan. Given that this takes place after episode 4, a lot of questions or situations that were brought up in case 9 were resolved or at least addressed in this episode.
Chise was frustrated that she couldn’t play a larger part in missions which led to her feeling like she was useless. Princess stepped in and tried to dissuade Ange from leaving Chise and herself out of missions, but it seems like Chise is still being left behind in some missions as she was put on standby in the car. Granted, Chise has the best combat potential out of the team and Beatrice has almost no combat ability, so it stands to reason that Chise was supposed to be a bodyguard for Beatrice during the mission. Then again, this is one of the same excuses that Ange used in episode 4.
Chise’s lord was also urging Chise to properly assess Princess and the Commonwealth (in order to determine whether or not Japan should team up with the Commonwealth or not) in episode 4 and his nagging continues into this episode. By the end of the episode, Chise admits that she isn’t sure if the Commonwealth will defeat the Kingdom, but she would like them very much to.
What won Chise over? It was the feeling of friendship and camaraderie she felt from the rest of her teammates. Throughout most of the episode, others had mocked her heritage and her customs. She even challenged a fool to a duel over such insults – and felt disappointed that Dorothy, Beatrice, and Ange weren’t there as her seconds, since that seemed to signify that they also considered her an outsider. However, it turns out that they were counting on her to distract one particular individual, who served as the Witness for the duel, so Chise was actually very vital for this particular mission. Furthermore, the girls are quick commend Chise for her blunt honesty and her righteous nature as they attempt to celebrate her victory with their interpretation of her own customs.
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
All in all, this episode was enjoyable as usual. I do think all of the loose ends that had went unexplained in other episodes have been covered, so I’m really excited to see the next episode – and anxious. I don’t know if PriPri is going to be a 1cour show or not. But if it is, then we’re entering crunch time and I’m worried we might get an unsatisfying conclusion.
EDIT: Operation Changeling was namedropped in this episode and we still have no idea about what it entails other than they plan on switching Princess with someone else (probably Ange). So never mind. More information on that in a later episode would be lovely.